The newest member of Bradley’s senior leadership is Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Erin Kastberg. As the university’s chief legal officer, she manages all its legal issues and advises on topics such as contracts, risk management and insurance, policy development, student affairs, training, personnel and employment issues. Nearly a year in, Kastberg said she’s on a steep learning curve.
“This probably isn’t unique to me, but I’ve learned that a lot of people here wear many hats,” she said. “Which hat am I wearing at any different time? It adds a whole new layer as an attorney because I need to be cognizant of whether someone is seeking legal advice from me and the communication is privileged or I’m acting as an administrator and it’s not privileged and if they know the difference.”
Reviewing contracts, such as non-disclosure agreements, is a large part of Kastberg’s legal duties. In higher education, these contracts often need particular attention.
“I look at those agreements to protect Bradley, because we don’t want to be in a position where we’re accused of breaching the contract. In non-disclosure agreements, we often need to add in provisions that allow us to share or use confidential or proprietary information for research or teaching purposes.”
Kastberg said the best part of her job is that it’s never boring. “Every day brings a new challenge, a new experience,” she said. “The people I’ve met on campus really care about this institution, moving it forward, and advancing its mission and interests. It goes to show what type of environment this is.”
After graduating from Iowa State University with a double major in psychology and sociology, Kastberg earned her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. She first worked for a general practice firm and then joined another firm to focus on labor and employment cases for educational institutions before joining the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of General Counsel in 2011.
How did she become interested in the law? Kastberg joked that it was her parents who told her she should go to law school every time a disagreement turned into a debate. Although she initially wanted to be a prosecutor, an internship revealed that wasn’t the right path. What Kastberg really loved was helping people resolve their problems.
“I think it was (about) the search for justice,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to see things be fair and to try to facilitate a resolution that everyone can live with instead of resorting to litigation.”
Like many women who juggle career and family demands, Kastberg wishes she had more time.
“I’d love to have the ability to clone myself. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do everything that needs to be done.”